Forget Beyonce— These are the Top 29 Female Rock Legends

Picking the top women of rock and roll is like any other “best of” list. Some are going to feel their favorite was left out while others will wonder why an artist made the list to begin with.

This is because with few exceptions, choosing the best rock and roll legends – male or female – is largely a matter of opinion. Here is a list of some of the most influential and greatest women in the music industry (in no particular order.)

Patti Smith

Smith was not the first to mix poetry with rock and roll, but it is difficult to come up with someone who did it better. She created the mold for the 70’s New York punk scene and thankfully did not break it, leading to many alternative bands since her reign.

Suzi Quatro

In many ways, Suzi Quatro defined the bass guitar and the look for many female artists. She had a slew of hit singles in Europe and Australia and finally the USA, with Can the Can and Devil Gate. Quatro not only made it acceptable for women to rock and rock hard, she made it cool.

Memphis Minnie

As one of the founding members of the original rock and roll, Memphis Minnie was so good, mega groups like Led Zeppelin covered her songs and drew inspiration off her style. Think about that. Jimmy Page, guitarist extraordinaire and the brain trust behind one of the best bands ever,and Robert Plant, who penned Stairway to Heaven, one of the most popular rock songs ever, drew inspiration from Memphis Minnie.

Stevie Nicks

Whether as the lead singer of Fleetwood Mac, or on her own, Stevie Nicks is as much a hit-maker as she is mysterious. Whether you like her musical style or not, her voice is almost perfect and her abilities as a songwriter are breathtaking. In addition to that, Nicks managed to keep her privacy, which is a feat unto itself. Plus, there are always those rumors …


Ok, so Heart is a group. It is hard to imagine rock without them though. Start with Magic ManCrazy on You and Barracuda, move onto What About Love, Never, and These Dreams and finish at the Kennedy Center covering Stairway and moving Robert Plant to tears. That is why Heart, collectively is on this list.

Chrissie Hynde

As the front of The Pretenders, Hynde produced hit after hit. She also, though, played with Frank Sinatra, Cher and UB40. That kind of crossover talent puts her at the “musical icon” level along with her status as rock legend.

Siouxsie Sioux

With Siouxsie and The Banshees, Sioux was the voice of goth and post-punk. She was able to pull it off because her voice was jarring and soothing, at the same time. Few, male or female, ok, probably just David Bowie, have ever been able to achieve that with any consistency.

The Go-Go’s

The second band on this list, the Go-Go’s set the stage for dozens of bands in the 80’s and 90’s. Just about everyone has heard Vacation and We Got the Beat. Oh, and they helped launch Belinda Carlisle.

Tina Turner

Few, if any, reach the heights of Turner. Over 100 million records and over a dozen Top 100 hits, the largest paying audience at one time (180,000) and a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Joni Mitchell

Mitchell served as an influence on the music of Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Marillion. Go with a date to a Mitchell concert and you were just as likely to see your grandparents, parents and peers all there for one reason: To celebrate Joni Mitchell.

To be continued …